Featured Image for the blog: 7 Ways to Encourage Customers to Take Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer input brings incredible value to your contact center. It gives you insight into your customers’ thoughts and concerns so you can make actionable improvements to your CX strategy. And, those improvements bring about more loyal customers who drive better impacts to your bottom line. In fact, 84% of companies who work to improve their CX see an increase in revenue.

To optimize the customer journey and maximize the amount you spend on improving CX, it’s vital that you get authentic customer feedback. But too few responses to customer satisfaction surveys will get you nowhere. Without enough customer data, you base decisions on your company’s perceptions of what your customers want and less on what they actually need. 

But how do you get feedback? Your customers are busy and likely worn out by the number of unread emails and texts on their phones. To help you gather more representative data, here are seven ways to encourage customers to take your customer satisfaction surveys.

1. Ask them during the interaction

In lieu of sending an automated survey request via email or text, encourage your agents to ask your customers directly. People are 34x more likely to respond to a request from a person than they are from an email. The personal touch goes a long way.

Coach your agents to ask politely after any customer interaction. If they aren’t sure of how to segue into the request, write down a few examples to help them be intentional with their word choice. Your agents should use “I” and “you” words instead of asking on behalf of the company.

7 ways to encourage CSAT survey responses

Saying “If you have a minute to fill out a quick survey, we would really appreciate your feedback,” feels less personal than an agent saying “I need your help.” Encourage your agents to instead ask, “If you have a minute to fill out a quick survey, I would really appreciate your feedback.” This slight change of tone makes your customers feel helpful and included. They prefer the idea of doing your agents a personal favor over completing a company task.

2. Offer the value before you ask them

When you ask your customers to fill out a survey, describe the value to them. Your CSAT surveys benefit your customers. Sure, they’re helpful for your company. But their importance comes from taking customer feedback and turning it into improvements. For them. Show your customers that the survey is about them.

Explain why feedback is so important and ensure that your company reads and analyzes every response from customers. Then, show that you compile the responses and address the most pressing needs. Maybe offer an example of what customers have pointed out in past surveys, and what your company has done to fix it. That way customers have concrete examples of how you act on what they share.

Your CSAT surveys are your customers’ opportunity to have a voice and share their input. So make sure you keep the focus of any survey request on the customer. If you only ask for a response, you’re indicating that the value is to your company, not to your customers.

3. Optimize your time-to-send

Timing is everything when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys. It’s important to send your surveys while interactions are still fresh in your customers’ minds, so they can recall the details. The feedback you get will more accurately reflect their experience. Experts recommend that you send any survey within 24 hours of a customer interaction. But the sooner, the better.

For phone surveys, the best way to get a response is to keep your customers on the line right after an interaction. You’re much more likely to get a response right after a call than if you sent a robocall request from an unknown number several hours later. Most people (myself included) don’t like to answer calls from unknown numbers. If your automated survey request ends up in my voicemail, I won’t take the time to call back.

For email and SMS surveys, aim to send surveys within 15 minutes of your customer’s most recent service interaction. The quicker you can deliver the survey, the more likely you are to get a response.

4. Be up-front about the time commitment

It’s likely that most of your customers don’t have lots of downtime to mull over their email inbox or sit on the phone for too long. So if your customer surveys are too long, most customers will end up quitting halfway through. 

Be as clear and concise as possible when you create customer satisfaction surveys. Tell your customers how much time they need to block out to complete any survey you send them. Giving them extra info, like how many questions there are, will help as well.

Customers are most likely to answer a survey that takes less than five minutes to complete. (But shorter is better!) Go past seven or eight minutes and you’ll see a lot of your customers abandon your survey.

If you explain the value of your survey to your customers and keep it short and sweet, you’ll see better results. 

Here’s an example of how an agent could approach a survey request with a customer:

“Thanks for reaching out for help. Our customer service team is always here for you, and we use your feedback to make your experience better. Can you give me some feedback on our last interaction? If you could take 30 seconds to fill out this two-question survey about your recent experience, I’d so appreciate the input!”

In this example, you’ve set the expectation that in only 30-seconds and two questions, your customers are delivering useful feedback that could impact their future level of service. When we’re talking about the cost of time, that proves a significant ROI for your customers.

5. Tailor your delivery to your customers’ channel preference

Meet your customers where they are. Remove any barriers that might prevent customers from filling out your surveys. If a customer typically reaches out via live chat, send them a pop-up survey in the chat window after your agent closes their case. If another customer opts for email, send a follow-up email with a survey link. Tailoring your surveys to channels your customers actually use gets better results than defaulting to a follow-up phone call.

Omnichannel engagements get higher responses

Even though CSAT surveys benefit your customers, asking for a response is still asking for a favor. Knock down any barriers you can to make it easier for your busy customers to respond.

6. Adjust your frequency

Be intentional about when and how often you send surveys to customers. Don’t just press send after every single interaction. If a customer called three times last week about the same issue, he will likely get frustrated if you send him a survey after each interaction. To him, that would feel impersonal and out of touch, especially if he was still struggling with an unresolved issue. 

Use intelligent customer data to inform when you send your customer satisfaction surveys. Set a rule so surveys go out after your agents close a case. And if you automate your surveys, include filters that take your customers’ history into consideration. This way, you make sure you meet your customers’ needs first.

7. Don’t incentivize; instead, prove that you act on the feedback

Though many people wouldn’t pass up monetary rewards or coupons, incentivizing customers to take surveys isn’t always the best practice. Incentivizing survey responses can lead to insincere feedback. It can skew your results with unintentional biases. A lot of your customers may be responding only to seek a reward, not to give authentic or helpful feedback.

Instead, show customers the impact of the responses they give. When you make real improvements based on customer feedback, announce those changes to your customers. Let them know that after 20 requests for an improved IVR or a new communication channel, you made changes to make their experience better.

Provide proof that you value feedback

This kind of announcement will set the precedent that their feedback does matter. Customers will be more apt to share genuine feedback if they know their input makes a difference in future experiences.

To get representative data to support your investment priorities and contact center changes, you need more than just a handful of responses to your customer satisfaction surveys. The more responses you can get to your surveys, the more complete your data will be to shape your decisions.


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We originally wrote this post on February 26, 2019 and we updated for new insight on November 25, 2020.